Thursday, April 30, 2009

Video: IWD

This is a video created by feminists, and people who are for gender equality. It includes what food feminism would be, what dance move feminism would be, I'm not a feminist but.., hopes and fears for the future, what you would tell a child and, other comments. I actually know a few of the people in the video.

Part 1:

Part 2:

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Canada: Rebelles a new Young Feminist Movement

Last October Feminists from around Canada came together in Montreal to create a new Young Feminist Movement. It was a bilingual conference and it attempted to create some guidelines for a movement. Below is their manifesto that was created:

We are the young RebELLEs who have answered a feminist call and we are proud to call ourselves feminists. We recognize that there are multiple interpretations of feminism and we celebrate and integrate this diversity. We are committed to the continual expansion of the plurality of our voices. We are committed to an ongoing process of critical self-reflection to inform and transform our movement. We acknowledge the historical exclusion of "Othered" women by the majority Western feminist movement. We strive to learn from the past, honour the struggles of our foremothers and continue to dream for the future. We value the allies of feminism who support us in our fight for equity and justice.

We are women of diverse abilities, ethnicities, origins, sexualities, identities, class backgrounds, ages and races. Among us are employed, underemployed and unemployed women, mothers, students, dropouts, artists, musicians and women in the sex trade. We state that transfolks, two-spirited and intersexed people are integral to our movement and recognize and respect gender fluidity and support the right to self-identify. Our womenonly spaces include everyone who self-identifies and lives as a woman in society.

We are told that feminism is over and outdated. If this were true then we wouldn't need to denounce the fact that: In reality, many of the demands of our feminist mothers and
grandmothers remain unmet. Women continue to be the victims of sexual violence. Our communities are haunted by the silence that follows these assaults. Throughout Canada, in spite of our right to it, access to abortion services remains insufficient. Across Canada as well, colonized, marginalized, racialized and disabled women are coerced and/or forced to undergo unwanted or uninformed abortions, forced to use contraception and are subjected to forced sterilization. The hyper-sexualization of women in the media has taught us to view women as sexual objects rather than complete human beings. Getting off, lesbianism and being queer are taboo and a women's choice to seek sexual pleasure is seen as negative. Our identities are eroded as we are taught, from the time we are children, and through television and magazines, that how we should look, dress, and act is determined by our sex. Violence is normalized, sexual abuse eroticized. Our sexual health education is inadequate and our reproductive rights are disrespected. Our needs are not being met.

In reality, women still represent the majority of the underprivileged. Our government steals children from poor and Aboriginal women. Capitalism exploits working-class women and confines middle- and upper-class women to "consumer" roles. We are told that equality has been achieved, but still the wage gap persists. Immigrant women are denied acknowledgment of their academic credentials and are forced to endure intolerable work environments in order to stay on Canadian soil. We lack affordable and accessible childcare. Women remain underpaid, underappreciated, and undervalued in the work force. We have gained the right to vote, yet gender-based discrimination keeps women virtually unrepresented in political office.

In this globalized world, we must construct international feminist solidarity. The actions of Canadian political and economic elites harm women around the world, and in a way that is specifically gender-related. War, genocide and militarization are characterized by the use of rape as a war weapon, femicide, and the sexual exploitation of thousands of our sisters. Free trade contributes to women's increasing social, economic and cultural insecurity. In response to Canadian imperialism, we will globalize our feminist solidarity. In this so-called post-feminist world, our roles in society are still defined by traditional views on gender. Religious and political forces aimed at maintaining the pillars of power in our society silence us from voicing our rights. We denounce the current rise of right-wing ideology in Canadian society and the steps backward in women's rights that this has caused.We are being stripped of rights for which those who came before us fought hard. Geography marginalizes women, with remote, northern and rural women lacking access to basic services. Showing solidarity with our sisters means trying to understand all of the issues we face - including race, class and gender - and standing together against oppression.

Finally, we denounce the dismissal of the feminist movement as redundant. Our struggle is not over. We will be post-feminists when we have post-patriarchy. Feminists Unite!

DOWN WITH the colonial legacy of genocide and assimilation of Aboriginal peoples, particularly of Aboriginal women
DOWN WITH the sexism and racism of the Indian Act
DOWN WITH dishonoured treaties
DOWN WITH assimilation
DOWN WITH racial profiling
DOWN WITH Canada's fake multicultural policy
DOWN WITH warmongers & military power
DOWN WITH racist child welfare policies
DOWN WITH stereotypes in the media
DOWN WITH genocide and femicide
DOWN WITH stealing women and children

RebELLEs AGAINST banks for hijacking the world
RebELLEs AGAINST drug companies for institutionalizing women's health
RebELLEs AGAINST public spaces that don't accommodate all bodies
RebELLEs AGAINST development that destroys nature
RebELLEs AGAINST the class system that keeps us impoverished and deprives us of safe, affordable housing
RebELLEs AGAINST the state that forces other countries to adopt the capitalist system
RebELLEs AGAINST the devaluation of women's paid and unpaid work
RebELLEs AGAINST corporations for making money off our backs
RebELLEs AGAINST the advertisers who destroy our self- esteem and then sell it back to us

RISE AGAINST the industries that cause us to hate our bodies and our sexuality
RISE AGAINST heterosexism that makes it seem that there is only one way of living, loving and being sexual
RISE AGAINST the socialization of children in gender binaries, race categories and colonial erasures
RISE AGAINST the education that reinforces the heteronormative nuclear family
RISE AGAINST the religious Right and its influence on State policy and legislation
RISE AGAINST rape and violence against women
RISE AGAINST the objectification and control of women's bodies
RISE AGAINST all anti-choice bills, laws and strategies
RISE AGAINST the sexual division of labour
RISE AGAINST poverty and women's economic disadvantage and dependency
RISE AGAINST income support programs based on family status instead of individual status
RISE AGAINST masculinists, their false claims and demagogic arguments
RISE AGAINST sexual exploitation

We envision communities committed to:
é Eradicating all forms of violence - including sexual, institutional, emotional, economic, physical, cultural, racial, colonial, ageist and ableist
é Challenging all forms of oppression, power and privilege
é Recognizing that others' struggles against oppression cannot be separated from one's own,
because all people are intrinsically linked; and being conscious of how one fits into the
different structures of oppression while fighting to eliminate them all
é Freeing our children and ourselves from the gender binary
é Building institutions and structures that promote the principles of Justice, Peace & Equality
é Eliminating economic inequality
é Funding and supporting affordable, accessible childcare, and the economic freedom to mother in the way we choose
é Learning and teaching true herstory and histories of our victories and struggles, especially those of women of colour and Aboriginal women
é Fighting the stigma and shame of mental health and psychiatric survivors and supporting their struggles

We will: Change our attitude: get pissed off, refuse, resist, walk out, speak up!
We will: Transform our daily lives and relationships: actions can take place in small interactions
We will: Encourage people to learn about, care for and love themselves and their bodies
We will: Support safe and accessible space for individuals to define and express themselves without fear of judgement
We will: Create alternatives, write poetry, articles, letters, make art
We will: Join with others, find common ground, build community, create feminist spaces and gatherings, raise awareness, educate, spread the word
We will: Believe that a better world is possible and work to achieve it
We will: Organize and struggle: build alliances with existing feminist groups and create new ones,
fight together in solidarity, be seen and be heard, disrupt, trouble, destabilize established powers, become culture jammers
We will: Build solidarity based on the commonality of our diverse struggles and perspectives
We will: Value people rather than profits
We will: Demand massive State reinvestment in social programs and the end of privatization
We will: Organize pan-Canadian decentralized days of feminist action against the rise of the Right
We will: Protest and resist sexist bills and laws that threaten our reproductive rights, racist
immigration laws, war, free trade, repression, the criminalization of political movements, corporate exploitation and plunder of the earth, and violence against women
We will: Champion safety, respect, justice, freedom, equality and SOLIDARITY!

This manifesto was adopted at the Pan-Canadian Young Feminist Gathering Waves of Resistance,
Montreal, October 13, 2008.
This is a call to action!

F i n d o u t m o r e , g e t i n v o l v e d !

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ottawa: Navigating the Ins and Outs: GLBT Partner Assault

Across Canada this is National Victims of Crime Awareness Week. In Ottawa Mayor Larry O'brien has proclaimed Victims of Crime Week from April 26th to May 2nd. On Friday, May 1st the Ottawa Police GLBT Liaison Committee will be putting on an information exchange between Community and Police named Navigating the Ins and Outs: GLBT Partner Assault.

There will be many guest speakers from Community Groups, Victim Services Groups, Police Services and the Crown's Office. It will include four workshops An Introduction to GLBT Partner Assault, Intersectionality and GLBT Partner Assault (Race, Ethnicity & Disability), The Legal Process A to Z and, Critical Incident - Critical Situation Teams. There will also be a Keynote Speaker, a Panel on Reporting and an Information Fair.

It is being held at the Richelieu-Vanier Community Centre at 300 Avenue des Pere Blanc. From 8:30 to 3:30 and there is free registration as well as refreshments provided. To register simply go here, anyone is welcome to do so.

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Video: Earth Spirit Action

A short 15 minute documentary on deep ecology and the impact of spirituality and political action on it. It includes activists Vandana Shiva, Starhawk, Matthew Fox, Ruth Rosenhek and John Seed.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Mexico: Trotsky's Remains Stolen?

I am curious as to the validity of a news story being disseminated by Anarchist groups. A anarchist group in Mexico has claimed to have stolen the ashes of Leon Trotsky, one of the main leaders of the Russian Revolution and prominent contributor to Marxist theory. He was critiqued by contemporaries for harming people especially by anarchist and feminist Emma Goldman. To complicate matters more, the anarchist group, have claimed to have made his ashes into cookies and have sent those cookies to groups that follow Trotsky and some other anarchist groups. Whether this is true or not I frankly have no idea, but a very interesting story whether true or false. If you have any information as to the validity or lack of please comment.

Here is the broadcast by the anarchists which is circling:

"Eighty eight years of the day Trotsky directed the suppression of the anarchist uprising in Krondstadt, a group of bandits scaled the walls of his former house in Mexico City during the late hours at night. We broke the lock on his mausoleum and we expropriate the content inside it: a silver large vase that bears the inscription of his name, wrapped in the red scarf that he carried around the neck, containing the ashes of the corpse inside. We replace with care the lock in the monument with a reproduction that was similar in the appearance and escaped into the night.

The vase along with its content then was taken far away to a place where the vase was discarded and the content (a combination of ash and bone) were baked in cookies. These cookies then were sent, along with a letter that explains our actions, to newspapers, to organizations of Trotskyists, and to the groups of anarchist around the world.

While we will not repeat everything of our full letter, briefly we propose to give new light to the idea that history does not end with the past and still a small group of bandits can give new direction to fights thought long to be frozen in the time. We want to expand the fight to include dead objects of the past that hold hostage us in the present.

Nevertheless, if Trotsky is right about the history, we do not determine anything, but we are only characters whose actions were written in the revolution of October. As was his destiny, coincidentally, to come to be a cookie.

The ones that receive these cookies have a decision. Through time, the act to consume enemies have been seen as a way to absorb their powers. On the other hand, consuming the body and the blood of the dead person as a sacrament have also been a form of worship. We would want to indicate that, at any rate, the result is always shit.

For those a little delicate, we have tried them, and although they be a little sandy, they are delicious. The green dots, by the way, they are just candies."

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Monday, April 13, 2009

Book Review: Webs of Power by Starhawk

I just finished reading Webs of Power: Notes from the Global Uprising by Starhawk. The book spans the years between 1999 and early 2001. Starhawk is prolific Neo-Pagan writer and is best known for her book the Spiral Dance. This book however, is in comparison to her other books focused entirely on politics, though her spirituality influences her political activism.

The book is broken into two parts. The first part gives an overview of the major demonstrations around the world between 1999 and 2001 and are largely unedited non-fiction stories and reports that the author wrote around those. It specifically addresses the famous Battle of Seattle around the WTO protests, A16 around the World Bank and IMF meeting, Prague also around the World Bank and IMF, the World Social Forum in Brazil, the FTAA demonstrations in Quebec City, the G8 protests in Genoa and, the aftermath of 9-11.

The second part dealt with the very real issue of what type of world that progressive movements would like to build. The main critique generally of progressive movements is what would be put in its place. In reality those alternatives are being created in many places around the world. Starhawk gives essays on what is needed for a new world. They are Our Place in Nature, The Practice of Direct Democracy, Building a Diverse Movement, Cultural Appropriation, "Many Roads to Morning:" Rethinking Nonviolence, What We Want: Economy and Strategy for the End Times and, Spirit in Action. It is through these principles of living sustainably as a part of nature, direct democracy, diversity, respect for each other's culture, a concerted look at tactics, a just economy and, a vibrant non-dogmatic spirituality that we can create a new world.

Overall a very good book. 5 out of 5.

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Video: The World According to Monsanto

I came across this documentary about Monsanto. It is by far one of the best I have seen on the subject.

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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Site: Best Feminist Political Blog

This which has been on hiatus due to University mostly, has been nominated in the 2009 Canadian F-Word Blog Awards for the Best Feminist Political Blog. Maybe this will kick my butt to start blogging again.

This was from the administrator of the awards:

"What does being nominated for an F-word Award mean, besides glamour, prestige, and a pretty badge to display on your blog? In the big scheme of things, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! More acutely though, it means that someone who is aware of the awards likes your blog enough to nominate it in our anti-sexist snark festival. It means someone thinks you kick ass! AND YOU DO! W00t!"

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